We’ve heard a fair bit about the Mazda CX-3 so far, even though we Malaysians have yet to see the car on our shores. While the launch is expected to take place before year's end, we can't wait to see Mazda's highly anticipated foray into the compact SUV segment, which is growing steadily in popularity here.
Luckily for us, our friends at Autoworld have had an early drive in the CX-3 in Melbourne, Australia and shared with us their findings on Mazda’s smallest crossover SUV.
PERFORMANCE AND DRIVE
The CX-3 will feature a line-up of two engines, one petrol and the other disel. The petrol engined offering will boast the familiar 2.0-litre four-cylinder SkyActiv-G unit that’s also available in the Mazda3, Mazda6, and the CX-3’s larger sibling, the CX-5. Whereas the diesel variant of the CX-3 will sport the 1.5-litre SkyActiv-D.
Combined with its light 1,195kg kerb weight, the claimed century sprint time is expected to be spritely.
The smart money says that when the CX-3 does arrive in Malaysia, only the front-wheel-drive 2.0-litre petrol model will be made available - at least initially. Australian buyers, on the other hand, also have the option of selecting an all-wheel-drive model.
Autoworld’s YS Khong says the CX-3 he got behind the wheel of in Aussie-land (a FWD 2.0-litre model) felt good to drive and has plenty of overtaking power while the 6-speed automatic transmission is as smooth as other Mazda models fitted with the same powertrain, which is to say “seamless”. The CX-3 stayed flat through the corners with minimal body roll, too.
It doesn’t take a lot to effort to realize how good looking the CX-3 is and Autoworld agrees that buyers will surely be swayed into a purchase based squarely on its looks alone. It does look unconventional, but in a way that is aesthetically pleasing.
'Unconventional' may not be the most inaccurate word. Perhaps, the reference point to 'conventional' here is how its competitors just don’t look as good overall next to the CX-3, especially while its wearing those 18-inch wheels (which should make it onto the Malaysian spec car too).
There are character lines in the right places, kinks in the right spots, and dips where there should be – all adhering Mazda’s KODO design language, of course.
Stepping inside, the interior is a medley of leather upholstery, soft touch plastic and hard plastic too. Don't worry, the hard stuff is placed in areas where you’ll likely not want to go poking too much around.
There are components that are taken from other cars in the Mazda stable, though, such as air conditioner controls from the Mazda3 and an instrument cluster from the Mazda2. These are marginal negatives as we’ve little to complain about other Mazda interiors of this generation.
Like its compatriots, the CX-3 is also outfitted with the central 7-inch display of the MZD Connect infotainment system, which is controllable from a knob behind the gear lever.
Mazda’s SKYACTIV generation of engines have been good performers when it comes to sipping fuel, and during Autoworld’s drive the CX-3 averaged between 6.5 to 7.5 litres/100km. An impressive figure even considering the car was kept within local speed limits and the wide open roads of the Australian countryside.
A word that Autoworld keeps coming back to in reference to the Mazda CX-3 is “interesting” or "unconventional". Alas, those are words that we wished were used for many other cars out there.
On most of all the right metrics, the CX-3 is a worthy contender indeed: it handles admirably, has a willing engine paired with a composed ride and smotth transmission, is good looking, and is even pretty economical to boot. So the question posed to the buyer considering this alongside its rivals is, how much does “interesting” matter?
Here's the full review over at Autoworld.com.my